In the Mix
By Rod Ammons

A few years ago I received a phone call from Messner Management about 4 p.m. Pacific Standard Time on a Friday. They were in need of a music video of "Sara B" for a fund-raising presentation and had a very small budget. In the past I had bad experiences working on projects with very little or no budget, but this guy found a weakness of mine and convinced me to produce the digital music video. The only challenge or should I say "challenges" were to write the script, shoot the video and edit it within 72 hours in Chicago, IL. I live in Southern California and hadn't heard the song.

Plus, I had just started a new job and no longer had access to cameras or an edit bay. Thanks to friends and production negotiating skills, I managed to come up with a newly released Sony DCR VX1000 digital video camera, a Power Mac 9500 with a Radius video capture card and was on the next plane to Chicago. I convinced a former co-worker, Mr. Barajas, who owned the Power Mac, to go with me.

We arrived in Chicago at 6 a.m. the next morning. We met with Bill (CEO of Messner Management), listened to the CD and wrote the script over breakfast. Fifteen hours later the shoot was done. Mr. Barajas and I were on the first plane out of Chicago.

We arrived in California late in the afternoon. Tired, and with my Sundays reserved for worship and family, I agreed to meet Mr. Barajas Monday after my day job, to edit the footage. Now it's Monday evening and we're pushing the envelope with the PowerMac 9500, 4 GB RAID AV drive, Adobe Premiere, After Effects and Sound Edit 16. Tuesday, everything looks good, given the conditions. I'm off to work and we just have to clean up the audio.

After work, I met with Barajas and discovered an audio problem. The Mac wasn't capturing the best audio quality. Mr. Barajas then changed the settings from 44MHz to 22MHz. Strangely, the audio was better, but still not acceptable to my standards or to Mr. Messner's. Now we were two days behind schedule and it seemed the Mac had let me down.

So, I requested the highest quality of the recording from the studio in Chicago. They sent a second-generation recording on DAT. We captured it, synched it with the video and the audio was better. The problem was not in the Mac, it was in the original recording.

Unfortunately, we had to complete the video with the mediocre recording, but the client loved the concept and visuals. The song was eventually re-mixed for national distribution. Currently I own a PowerMac 8100 with a Targa 2000 Pro Capture card and the same 4GB RAID AV drive we used to produce "Sara B's" video. The Mac is still a great fully functional computer. Although I keep it for sentimental value, I do use it to write scripts, experiment with 2D/3D graphics and create interactive CDs.

We all have stories to tell! Your successes, failures, just hard or flashes of genius, we're interested in all your war stories. Come on, share the wealth, us learn from your trailes and tribulations.
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